Talon News - Good Local News

By J.R. Sykes


AZTEC POLICE Target Traffic Safety


Patrolman McKinney operates the radar gun on main as part of the three officer team working traffic safety in Aztec. -PHOTO-J.R.Sykes-TALON

On Saturday 05.19.18, TALON caught up with Aztec Police Captian Troy Morris, and officers McKinney and Schmitt as they worked a busy intersection in historic downtown Aztec.

APD Captain Troy Morris indicated the team were able to put in this overtime thanks to state of New Mexico grant money. This grant funding enabled the department to place today's team outfitted with radar gun, and two attending officers at the corner of Zia and Main Ave. The aim was to ticket unsafe drivers entering Aztec this sunny Saturday with a focus on seat belts, cell phones, and speeders.

The team worked like a fine tuned machine as I watched. Patrolman McKinney running the radar gun, and directing drivers to pull over onto Zia Street. The other two officers would then issue appropriate tickets as needed. The officers noted that in just the first hour or so, they had issued 23 citations! Most of the citations were for speeding. One vehicle was cited for 59 * mph. on Main!

Main Ave. in Aztec is posted at 25 mph speed limit, and has several crosswalks and school zones. - SLOW DOWN ! : )

On this day, our men in blue worked the intersection of Zia and Main Avenue, near the Aztec Feed and the historic American Hotel buildings and more recently the site of a motor vehicle accident involving two cars and the McClure building across the intersection.

Summer break is approaching and with the additional pedestrian and children outside, this is a prime opportunity to condition drivers to pay attention and slow down.

This is not the only intersection that is getting additional APD attention. Due to community input about speeders and unsafe operators around town, the department places similar teams at intersections all over such as Chaco and Aztec, Aztec and Main, Aztec and Church, and Main and Church as well as the school zones around town and selected other target areas.

"The goal of this type of police work is not to generate revenue, but to improve basic traffic safety. Speeding, distracted driving, and no seat belts, cost the community big bucks." said Captain Morris. While a traffic ticket may cost the driver a few dollars, a simple traffic accident may cost thousands or even millions of dollars, endangering property, and innocent lives.

Overtime is very costly for a department, and grants such as the STEM grant that funded this Aztec operation make the work possible at a time when budgets and work forces are squeezed by state budget cuts.


As a result of ongoing concern from local merchants, and residents, Aztec City government has been working on a bypass project that would divert much traffic away from Main Ave. While the bypass offers many positives for the community, it is years from completion.

In the meantime drivers, please buckle up, slow down, and get off the phone! Our kids, dogs, bicyclists, local businesses, and your driving record will appreciate it.

TALON would like to suggest city residents pitch in to help the officers promote safe driving. What about doing a a city wide sign campaign in Aztec to encourage drivers to "SLOW DOWN". TALON will offer support for this idea. Businesses and individuals who would like to participate should contact TALON and ask for J.R. Sykes at 505-334-1039.


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